7 Things You Must Do If You’re Going to Get a Degree Online

 

For many people, online education is still a relatively new concept. There are now hundreds of courses (some even for free!) and degrees available online, from institutions that range from highly ranked, accredited universities to predatory for-profit diploma mills. Recent statistics show that students who initially opt to pursue a degree online are often not prepared to commit the time necessary for studying and testing well on the class material, and some students drop out of online programs altogether. Still, there are many advantages to getting a degree online, as long as you do a little homework in advance. Take a look at these seven things you must do if you plan to get a degree online.

  1. Ask yourself what kind of degree you need:

    Traditional bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as associate degrees and certificates, are available online at for-profit and a growing number of not-for-profit colleges and universities. There are more and more free courses available now as online, non-accredited courses taught by highly respected professors, but that offer no certification. Think hard about your career goals in order to decide what kind of course, certification, or degree is best suited for achieving that goal.

  2. Check out the school:

    Before committing to completing and, of course, paying for your online education, thoroughly investigate the online college offering the degree. Determine whether or not the school is accredited, as most employers and colleges will not accept credits from an unaccredited school. Check with potential employers to see what online colleges their employees have utilized for their own education. And use the power of Google’s search engine to see what consumers and consumer advocates are saying about the online college you’re considering.

  3. Look at the syllabus:

    A college class syllabus, which provides an outline of the course including test dates and a list of required reading material, is an especially crucial piece of information for you as an online student, especially if you work full-time, have children, or are in the military. If you are already juggling a busy schedule, use the syllabus to calendar out your online class schedule so that you don’t miss any due dates, including daily check-ins, assignments, and final tests.

  4. Sort out any tech issues:

    Generally speaking, for any online course, you’ll need a computer with a built-in microphone connected to speakers and a printer. Get an email address that’s reliable and resistant to hacking and spam. Google mail is excellent, and you’ll have a calendar and the ability to upload and access documents at other computers as well. Before buying any software, see if the school provides free downloads from a technical support page.

  5. Consider tuition (and additional fees!):

    One of the biggest consumer complaints in the news these days is the cost and relative value of an online education. Since you’ll most likely be juggling work and other responsibilities with your online course load, make sure you know how long it will take for you to complete your degree, and what the final cost will be. There are hidden costs to getting an online degree, including technology fees and the cost of specific course materials. In order to follow through with your long-term commitment to getting a degree, you will need to know exactly how much doing so is going to cost you.

  6. Apply for loans, scholarships, and grants:

    To offset the cost of an online degree, you have the option of applying for federal student loans, as well as several scholarships and grants. As with any loan, be careful not to let yourself be pushed into taking out a loan you have no way of paying back. If an online school is pushing a loan on you, chances are you want to look elsewhere for your education. There are fewer scholarships available to online learners compared to traditional learners, but they do exist. As you research the online college you’re interested in, check to see what sort of scholarships they offer.

  7. Budget your time:

    Working at your own pace requires discipline and a commitment to completing your work on time. Leaving the work to be done at the last minute or not at all defeats the purpose and advantages of online education. So look at your daily schedule and decide where you can realistically fit in your study and online class time. If you have kids, assign them chores you normally take care of, so you can have the extra time you need to complete your degree. Make a plan, and stick to it.

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6 Things to Look for in an Internship

What is an internship? An internship is generally an unpaid position within a company, with a definite start and end date, that serves to provide vocational education for the intern. Internships are a great way to gain some real-world experience before you graduate, and may even allow you to transition into a paid, full-time job. Your school’s career education department can help you find an internship. But even with that guidance, how will you know if an internship is right for you? Here are six things you should look for in an internship.

  1. Is it worth your time?:

    Whether an internship is advertised, hidden from the general public, or a self-created opportunity, you should step back and consider whether or not the internship you’re looking at is worth your time. It is possible that a legit internship may not provide you with as much relevant experience toward your career goals as would volunteer work, joining a political campaign, or working overseas. Don’t look for an internship just to have the word “internship” on your resume. Seek out instead a positive, vocational experience that may or may not be in the form of an internship.

  2. Education, not exploitation:

    Unfortunately, some employers exploit interns, or at best, provide little in the way of supervision, mentoring, and practical experience. The U.S. Labor Department requires that unpaid internships resemble vocational education and that the work of unpaid interns cannot be a substitute for regular employees. Before accepting an internship, ask for a clearly written list of your duties and responsibilities. Consider project-oriented internships with an agreed start and end date, which leaves fewer chances for you to be exploited by an employer.

  3. A mentor:

    Mentoring may be less common in today’s business world than it was 20 or 30 years ago, but many internships still include mentoring in their programs. Once your internship is concluded, a mentor can be a great connection for you as you look for a full-time job. If no formal mentoring is in place as part of your internship, consider asking the internship coordinator if you could reach out to one of the executives at the company to schedule a time to meet and discuss how that person got their start. You may have to be the one to instigate the mentoring.

  4. Relevant to your degree:

    Ideally, an internship should relate to your degree program, allowing you to practice the skills and concepts you are studying. On the other hand, an internship may provide you with a whole other unrelated, yet valuable set of skills and experiences that you might not be able to access any other way. Resumes that boast a broad range of skills and work experiences are not uncommon these days, but some connection, no matter how small, between the field of study you are in and any internship you are considering will be to your benefit in the future.

  5. Variety of experiences:

    An internship that exposes you to a variety of departments and tasks at a company can prove invaluable as you try to assess whether you want to work in a particular field or not. The more you are able to see and experience, the more answers you will have to questions regarding where you want to work, who you want to work with, and what exactly you want to do. With that in mind, you may decide to do two, three, or more internships over the course of your college career. You may even explore interning after you’ve graduated.

  6. Opportunity for full-time employment:

    Do internships really lead to full-time jobs? Statistically speaking, the answer is ‘yes,’ but your full-time job offer may not come from the company for whom you interned. In the current job market, employers are likely to favor resumes that show some real-world practical experience in addition to a relevant education. Even if your internship doesn’t allow you to transition into a full-time position, it may be an important key to getting a job elsewhere in the future.

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6 Grocery Store Staples for the Busy College Student

 

College students are busy. But even the busiest college student has to eat. When deciding what kitchen staples to buy for your college apartment, the healthier you can be, the better. But we know college, and we know that’s not going to happen. If you’ve got nothing else in your beer fridge, make sure to stock up on these six staples.

  1. Ramen

    Obviously. Although you’d be better off not eating freeze-dried processed foods, let’s be real. You’re in college. You’re going to eat Ramen. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and it’s easy. It’s also packed with sodium. Try to enjoy it with a glass of water.

  2. Sriracha

    It’s the little hot sauce that could. It’s trendy, delicious, and packs a punch. Sriracha goes on everything. It can make a bland sandwich taste great, spice up a soup, or (pro tip) it tastes good on Ramen.

  3. Energy Drinks

    Red Bull, Monster, RockStar, or good ol’ soda. Whatever your poison (and they are poison), all college students are bound to need an artificial pick me up for a long day. Coffee and tea are also fine sources of caffeine, and that’s a substance you’ll definitely see in any college kid’s kitchen.

  4. Peanut Butter and Jelly

    Also, bread. Lunch meat. Chips. In a college student’s kitchen, you’re bound to find the types of things fourth graders take to school in their lunchkits. You can’t expect a college student to eat like an adult, and you certainly can’t expect them to cook like one.

  5. Alcohol

    Beer for the boys, Boone’s Farm for the girls. Most college kids will make at least one beer run per week. Related purchases include: red Solo cups, ping pong balls, and university-themed koozies. Hey — it’s five o’clock somewhere.

  6. Mustard

    Awkwardly, a 75% full bottle of mustard with crust around the edges is a staple of almost any college fridge. You might not ever use it — in fact, you probably won’t. But you wouldn’t be a college student without it. It’s as American as apple pie.

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The Only 6 Apps You’ll Need for College

 

The fall semester’s here, and you should be ready and raring to go. College is a time for intense study, more intense fun, and figuring out who you are and learning what you’ll do next. But to the clueless freshman, or the fifth-year with senioritis, college can be a disorienting battlefield of misguided priorities. Not to worry — there’s an app for that. In fact, there are six.

  1. Your College’s App

    Stay up to the minute with updates about road closures, inclement weather, and NCAA sports. Your college probably has an app, and it’s a good idea to download it. Even if you’re not into school spirit, it’s always good to know what’s going on in your collegiate community.

  2. TabbedOut

    TabbedOut might be the greatest app ever. When you’re out at a bar, you can pay your tab straight from your smart phone. It’s brilliant, streamlined, and simple, and it comes from good folks in Austin, Texas. Absolutely worth the download. Honorable Mention: DrinkOwl. This one’s for the more hardcore drinker and for those always looking for a deal.

  3. Study Buddy

    Even the most serious student goes YOLO sometimes. For those times, there’s Study Buddy. This cheap little app — complete with literal bells and whistles — helps chart the duration of distractions that you encounter during studying. You get personalized feedback and plenty of help to keep you on task. Eyes on the prize, kids. Get your work in the cross hairs, and take it down.

  4. iStudiez Pro

    More anal retentive than ADD? This is the app for you. If you’re in the habit of acting like your incrementalized schedule is the end-all-be-all of life, get iStudiez Pro. You can compartmentalize, delegate, and look at all your activities — holidays, office hours, test days, those large chunks of time you spend organizing your schedule instead of having a social life — in one convenient, easy-to-use app. It also tracks grades, study sessions, and your overall GPA.

  5. inClass

    You just don’t listen, do you? Meh, there’s an app for that. inClass allows you to record audio, take notes, take video notes, and utilize any handouts or PowerPoint slides. Organize, share, and ace. Best part about it? It’s free.

  6. Pizza

    Domino’s, Papa John’s, or hopefully something local — no matter what name it goes by, you’ll need a pizza app. Eating like a college kid is your still-decent metabolism’s right. Enjoy it while it lasts. And don’t forget the beer.

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7 Tips for Managing a Joint Credit Card Account

 

Sharing a credit card with your partner is a very big deal. What was once all yours to spend is now also theirs. But unlike co-signing a lease or sharing a cell phone family plan, credit card debt is undefined. Before you and your significant other apply for a joint credit card, please check out the following tips for managing a shared credit card.

  1. Set a spending limit:

    One of the best ways to manage a joint credit card is to set a spending limit individually and as a whole. Aside from your maximum balance, you and your partner need to agree on an amount you cannot exceed. As a rule of thumb, do not carry a balance that is more than 30% of your credit limit. A high balance will accrue more interest and may end up hurting your credit score. It’s best to choose a lower spending limit that is less than 30% of your credit limit.

  2. Be truthful:

    Money is the No. 1 thing married couples argue about, so lying about your purchases or how much you spent on your joint credit card is probably not a smart move. It’s best to be truthful about your spending and share this information with your partner to not only avoid arguments but also give them a heads up that there is a change in the credit card balance. You’ll both be on the same page and won’t have to worry about any surprises on the bill.

  3. Know each other’s spending habits:

    Before you and your partner get a credit card together it’s a good idea to talk about each other’s past and present spending habits. Even if your money personalities are starkly different — say you are a big spender and your partner is the frugal one — it is completely possible to maintain a healthy financial relationship. The most important thing you can do is have open communication and disclose information about your spending.

  4. Never, ever max out your credit:

    Remember, a joint credit card account affects both parties. If one of you exceeds your maximum credit limit, then you both have to suffer the consequences. Maxing out your credit card can significantly damage your credit score and cause major problems for future credit and loan applications. Not to mention, the more money you charge up, the harder it is to repay. Set a maximum spending limit and keep your balance under 30% of your credit limit.

  5. Check the balance often:

    It’s crucial for couples to keep a close eye on their credit balance and check it often. Don’t wait until after you’ve made a large purchase to check your credit balance. You need to check the balance and discuss the purchase with your partner beforehand. This way everyone is on the same page and is well aware of the balance.

  6. Decide who will pay the bill:

    There are a couple of different options when it comes to paying the bill for a joint credit card account, but it may be simplest to designate one person to pay the bill each month. Whoever is responsible for paying the credit card bill needs to make timely payments and the other person can help by reminding them.

  7. Use your card minimally:

    Credit cards are intended to be used minimally. They allow you to make large purchases that you can pay down over time and they serve as a reliable backup after debit cards and cash. If you and your partner want to have a successful joint credit card account and have little to no debt, then you need to keep your credit card active but only use it every once in a while.

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6 Tips for Surviving Your First College Party

Of course you knew you’d have to go to classes and take tests in college, but earning that degree is probably only half the reason you enrolled. Getting a taste of college life and freedom is often a motivating factor for college-bound students, and that typically means going to college parties. While you should let loose and meet new people at your first college party, it’s more important that you stay safe and survive to make it to the next bash. It’s easy to let things get out of hand when you’re around alcohol, attractive co-eds, and peer pressure, but take control of the situation with these six tips so you can have a safe, good time.

  1. Eat before you go:

    If you choose to drink, do it wisely. Drinking more than you ever have before, at a place where you probably don’t know everyone is not smart. By eating before you go to the party, you can delay the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, allowing you to feel the effects of the alcohol more slowly. This will hopefully keep you from getting dangerously drunk or sick as you drink throughout the night. You may have heard the idea of skipping a real meal and “drinking your dinner,” but that is not a move you want to make at your very first party.

  2. Drink slowly:

    Another way to prevent yourself from getting inebriated too quickly (and maybe making bad decisions) is to pace yourself with your drinking. Don’t shotgun beers, play drinking games, or take shots. Those activities can be saved for a time when you know your limits and are surrounded by people you know and trust. Drink slowly and take a break when you feel like you’re losing control. And if you feel pressured to keep drinking when you’ve hit your limit, fill your cup with soda or water to sip on until you feel better.

  3. Watch out for the friends you came with:

    Using the buddy system can help you avoid many dangerous situations, like disappearing with someone you don’t know or drinking too much and embarrassing yourself (or worse). Before you head out to the party, make sure you and a couple of friends have agreed to look out for each other all night. Even if your friends insist they’re OK and will find a way home, don’t leave them behind, and make sure they know to do the same for you. This isn’t just a good rule of thumb for your first party, but for any party where you don’t know at least half of the attendees.

  4. Don’t take drinks from strangers:

    If dangerous strangers all looked as menacing as they do in movies, this tip would be moot. But the truth is that even an acquaintance or someone you’ve seen around campus can have less-than-noble intentions. Besides the possibility of being slipped the date-rape drug or another drug, anytime you don’t see your drink mixed, you lose the ability to gauge how much you’re drinking and stay in control. Even if someone is just being nice, if they’ve been drinking, they’re likely to give you more alcohol than you should have. You don’t have to rudely refuse the drink; just say you’re only drinking beer or a certain mixed drink and have them accompany you as you make your own drink. Better safe than sorry.

  5. Have a plan (or two) for getting home:

    Even if you’ve been pacing yourself, you will probably be too intoxicated by the end of the night to drive safely home. Prepare for this situation before you head out to the party so you won’t be tempted to put yourself and others in danger by getting behind the wheel. Some options: assign a designated driver, pool money for a cab ride, or use your school’s safe ride service if there is one. You won’t regret thinking ahead, but you will regret driving drunk when you get in a car accident or are charged with a DUI.

  6. Know what to do in an emergency:

    Even if you’re being smart with your drinking and partying, other people, including your friends, may not be. It’s important to know what to do when an emergency situation arises, just in case. Binge drinking is a common problem at college parties and can lead to alcohol poisoning, a dangerous condition that can lead to brain damage or death. Learn the signs of alcohol poisoning, and seek medical help if you suspect someone has it. If someone is injured or assaulted, use common sense and never avoid calling for help because you’re afraid you’ll get in trouble. Your friend’s life is more important than the police breaking up the party.

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7 Things You Should Always Carry in Your Backpack

 

Students carry their lives on their backs. Everything that goes in your trusty backpack has a special purpose, but there’s still a chance that you’re forgetting some very important items. Sure, you’ve got all your textbooks and a handful of No. 2 pencils, but what about a stash of emergency cash or an umbrella for an unexpected storm? Don’t just carry the school basics; come prepared with these seven must-have items in your backpack.

  1. Cash:

    It’s a good idea to carry a little cash in your backpack in case you need to take a taxi to campus or buy a last minute Scantron before an exam. But make sure you only carry small bills in your backpack and reserve the cash for emergency situations only.

  2. Phone charger:

    You don’t want to end up on campus with a dead phone, especially if you’re meeting a study buddy or walking back home in the dark. Keep your cell phone fully charged by carrying an emergency phone charger in your backpack.

  3. Ear plugs:

    If you prefer to study in silence but cannot block out the conversations happening around you, then you’ll want to have a pair of ear plugs handy. Ear plugs are also useful when you need to take a power nap between classes or just need to sit in complete silence.

  4. First-aid kit:

    You just never know when you’re going to get a massive paper cut or a blister from walking in your new shoes on campus. If you’re carrying a first-aid kit in your backpack, this is a quick and easy fix. Your first-aid kit doesn’t need much; just a handful of bandages, antiseptic cleansing wipes, antibiotic ointment, gauze, and some aspirin.

  5. Umbrella:

    Nothing is worse than getting rained on and having to sit in a frigid lecture hall while wet and soggy. Don’t depend on the weather report to get it right; just pack a compact umbrella in your backpack and you’ll be prepared when the rain hits or the sun is too hot to bear.

  6. Energy bar:

    Don’t let a rumbling tummy distract you in class. Come prepared when hunger strikes with a high-protein energy bar. Just throw a few bars in your bag and eat them on the go for an cheap and effective energy boost.

  7. Disposable camera:

    If you don’t have a camera phone or even if you do, it’s not a bad idea to carry a disposable camera in your backpack in case you need to take spur-of-the-moment pictures. If you need some inspiration for an upcoming art project or just want to capture the sights of your campus, a disposable camera is a cheap, light, and easy way to document what you see.

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6 Reasons You Should Care About the Mars Rover

Curiosity is a beautiful thing, and now it’s also a beautiful robot. The aptly named rover is set to land on the surface of Mars on Aug. 5, at 10:31 p.m. PDT. There will be a live broadcast of a dangerous landing on The Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, and everyone who’s anyone will be tuning in to NASA TV (or heading over to Times Square) to watch. But you don’t know anything about this, do you? We’ll make it easy for you, space age slackers. Here are six reasons you should care about Curiosity.

  1. Because robots are scientists now

    “They took our jobs!” — South Park

    If Spirit and Opportunity were robotic geologists, Curiosity is “both a robotic geologist and a robotic geochemist,” says project scientist John Grotzinger. This Curiosity may not kill a cat, but it could be more successful than you: It’s on a mission to search for places that life could have evolved (but may not have) on Mars. How’s that cubicle feeling now?

  2. Because space exploration is necessary for long-term survival

    Star Trek might not be too far off. Space truly is the final frontier, and everyone who’s smarter than you agrees. Robert Zubrin’s book, Entering Space advocates for the creation of a spacefaring (not space fearing) civilization. And theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking warns, “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet.”

  3. Because learning about the universe is super cool

    Curiosity is truly the perfect name. Think about the night sky — the twinkling stars, the moon, the rare comet. The more everyone knows about science, space, our solar system, and the universe, the better. It’s fascinating, and it’s the past, present, and future. Let the Mars rover’s landing and exploration peak your curiosity.

  4. Because it’s a Hot Wheels toy

    That’s right. You can have your own Curiosity — without ever even wondering about a darn thing. Mattel is releasing a Curiosity action figure vehicle that’s 1:64 scale model. The kid-sized rovers will go on sale in September.

  5. Because they’re broadcasting the landing in Times Square

    And if that doesn’t make something news, there’s no hope for the future of the media arc. Tourists and New Yorkers will see it. Why shouldn’t you? Third Rock Radio, which is accessible through NASA’s website, and the TuneIn app will also broadcast the landing.

  6. Because it’s good news

    It’s an election year. A psychopath just murdered a dozen people in a crowded theater. Our soldiers die in armed conflict every day. 50 Shades of Grey is at the top of the bestseller list. But Curiosity is good news, and that’s worth caring about. Curiosity is about exploration. It’s about learning. It’s about, well, curiosity. And there’s simply nothing better than that.

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Advice Every Freshman Should Heed (But Probably Won’t)

You’re just a couple months removed from the culmination of your high school career, a period in which you conquered all challenges and built a foundation for the rest if your life. You accomplished your academic goals, have the accolades to show for it, and now are prepared to begin coursework at your dream school. You have an abundance of friends with whom you plan to keep in touch for the rest of your life. They made you feel like you always belonged.

Now it’s time to start over again. You’ll be in the same boat as every other freshman: Until the first semester is over, your GPA will be nonexistent. Everyone will be a stranger, save for the few people you may know from high school, for the first few weeks before you assimilate to campus life. It’s essential that you properly deal with the changes by developing positive habits that will stick for the rest of your college career.

As a newly independent adult who’s surrounded by many people who care, you’ve probably received an unsolicited piece of advice or two from people who’ve been there before, such as your parents. Although you may think you have it all figured out, you’ll undoubtedly encounter new challenges for which you won’t have an immediate solution, which is why you should absorb all the wisdom you can before embarking on the newest chapter of your life.

Movin’ on up: You’re not in Kansas Anymore

Perhaps the best part of beginning your college career is being miles away from your parents. No longer will they be looking over your shoulder at all times, and now you can do whatever you want. The bad news is that you’ll be far removed from your comfort zone, as you they won’t be around to tend to your every need. You’ve lived with the same people for your entire life, and now you’ll be living in a completely new environment with, most likely, complete strangers. Even the most socially adept person can implode in a lousy living situation. It’s your task to make sure things don’t deteriorate as soon as the going gets rough.

  • Get to know your roommate/suitemate/floormates: These are the people you’ll be seeing every day for the next semester at least, so it’s essential that you establish a friendly rapport by getting to know them. Remember that everyone, like you, is starting anew and looking for friends. If you and your roommate don’t immediately hit it off, be patient and give the relationship time to develop. Even if you have little in common with him or her, you can still get along just fine.
  • Establish boundaries from the start: That isn’t to say you should overtly lay the ground rules as soon as you walk in the door, but you should make it clear in a non-confrontational manner that you plan to respect their space, possessions, and sensibilities, implying that you expect the same from them. To be friendly, you should offer them food and let them borrow your stuff, but when it goes too far, don’t be afraid to confront them.
  • Never let a problem fester: The most miserable roommate situations are the ones where all communication is passive aggressive, reflecting the build-up of multiple issues that haven’t been resolved. While it’s advised that you let the first instance of disrespect go, you shouldn’t hesitate to broach the topic the second time it occurs to prevent it from happening again. Are they eating all your snacks? In a civil manner make it clear that you don’t mind sharing with them here and there, but they are your snacks and they’re intended to satiate your midday or late night hunger.
  • Recognize that you’re not perfect: This may come as a surprise, but you may not be the best roommate in the world either. If you live with someone, their imperfections will inevitably surface. During the frustration that comes with a roommate disagreement, understand that you may have contributed to the problem as well. Make it clear to your roommate that you’re willing to make changes to ensure they feel more comfortable, and hopefully they’ll do the same for you. If they don’t, befriend your Resident Assistant.

The good thing about living in the 21st century is that you’re not entirely alone, even if you’re 2,000 miles away from home. Technology can serve as your trusty sidekick as you become acclimated to life on your own. Here are a few apps that will help with your transition to living on campus.

  • Skype: Not only does Skype mobile allow you to see and speak to a family member or friend from anywhere, but Skype-to-Skype calls are free with Verizon, a service with more than 100 million subscribers. So, if your homesickness lasts a little longer than expected, you won’t go broke trying to comfort yourself.
  • Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock: Now there’s a smart alarm clock for your smartphone, ensuring you’ll never sleep through a class after a long night of partying. The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock maximizes your sleep time by waking you in your lightest sleep phase in a half-hour window that ends at the time you set the alarm, making it easier for you to get up and feel well-rested.
  • AroundMe: Living in a new place means you’re entirely unfamiliar with your surroundings. Instead of wandering around like a lost dog, you can employ the help of AroundMe, which “identifies your position and allows you to choose the nearest Bank, Bar, Gas Station, Hospital, Hotel, Movie Theatre, Restaurant, Supermarket, Theatre and Taxi.”
  • HopStop: Many college students leave their cars behind when going off the college or simply choose not to drive to save money. Finding the most efficient routes through public transportation, however, can be a difficult. HopStop solves that problem, connecting you from Point A to Point B to Point C. Prefer to take a cab? It’ll estimate travel time and the cost of service.
  • MyEffinRoommate: If you’re burdened with an insufferable roommate with whom you’ve tried and failed to reason over and over again, then you may get some temporary comfort in finding that there are worse roommates out there. MyEffinRoommate, like the site, brings you real life stories that are “insanely hilarious.”

Eating Your Way to Success

The two biggest battles waged by college freshman come against their roommates partly due to the fact that they didn’t heed the above advice and the Freshman Fifteen, those extra pounds that quickly accumulate after you’ve stopped exercising regularly, drink more, and regularly consume calorie- and carb-heavy foods served at your campus cafeteria and fast food joints. Not only will getting out of shape impact your chances with the opposite sex, which, let’s face it, is a large part of the incentive to live on campus, but it will also affect your ability to function to your fullest potential each day. Bad food can lead to sluggishness, and, conversely, sluggishness can lead to the consumption of bad food.

Part of becoming an adult and living independently is learning how to live life in moderation. If you don’t somewhat discipline yourself, you’ll find things quickly spinning out of control. This applies to eating, time management, and striving to achieve your goals. The effectiveness of your routine is dependent on each component that holds it together. For example, if you decide to grab a late-night burger on the evening before a busy day of classes, you might wake up the next morning unwilling to pull yourself up and make it to your first class. It’s a slippery slope. To avoid it, you should establish a healthy and inexpensive eating routine.

  • Eat naturally: If you’re dependent on a meal plan, then you may be tempted to go for those calorie- and carb-heavy foods. However, there are almost certainly other options on campus from which to choose. Opt for foods in their natural state devoid of artificial preservatives. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Hit up the salad bar. If a food item looks like it will have you keeled over in an hour, use common sense and avoid it.
  • Buy a cookbook and cook: Cooking is a great way to save money, and when you cook a meal, you have full control over the ingredients. You can spend a few dollars at the store and prepare a dish that will last several meals. You can save even more money by purchasing store brands over brand names. A survey from Consumer Reports found that doing so saves an average of 30% and the tastes are indistinguishable from the more expensive alternatives.
  • Drink plenty of water: Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate, and you need water to replenish your body. If the running water in your dorm isn’t good, buy a water filter and use it often.

The other advantage of living at home all those years was having all your meals taken care of by your parents, who, more likely than not, ensured you ate healthily. Mom won’t be permanently entrenched in your dorm room kitchen, unfortunately, but you can solicit the advice of a few apps that are nearly as smart.

  • UniEat: College students value simplicity and convenience, and UniEat, a cookbook designed for them, fits the bill. It provides low-maintenance recipes, categorized by “Budget Meals” and “Minimal Washing,” that “keep your wallet and belly full.”
  • Healthy Grocery Lists & Food Scanner: The title is self-explanatory. This app helps you determine which foods are healthy and which are not, according to your personalized diet, by simply scanning them. It also enables you to compose a healthy grocery list that will keep you disciplined while grocery shopping.
  • GoodFoodNearYou: When you’re in a bind and don’t have the time to eat in or on campus, dial up GoodFoodNearYou to find just that. With nutritional information from more than 250,000 restaurants, you’ll be sure to find something that won’t interfere with your grownup eating habits.

Your Education: That Other Reason You’re in College

Amid the endless partying that comes with your first several weeks on campus, you may forget the reason you’re there in the first place: to get an education. That means you have to get up and go to class, even if most of your professors don’t take attendance, which is why you should make use of the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app. Re-enter the dreaded word: discipline. To be successful academically, you have the find the right balance between your social life and your study time, a task at which many students fail miserably.

  • Manage your time wisely: Your first priority should be to ensure you have enough time devoted to your studies each week. Plan your weeks according to your syllabi, which will detail most of the work expected from you during the semester. Then factor in other commitments, such as work and activities for campus organizations. The remainder of the time can be used to party.
  • Create or find a comfortable study environment: Regardless of whether it’s in your dorm room, the library, or an empty classroom, you should have a go-to place in which to study. Ideally, that place is quiet, free from disturbances, and comfortable. It should be a place where you can spend hours at a time.
  • Utilize campus resources: If you’re struggling in a subject and need help, you might be able to find on-campus tutors with whom you can study. Postings with available times and locations can be found on your school’s website. Also, it’s important that you communicate with your professors as needed. Have a question about an assignment? Visit them during their office hours or send them an email. Some professors are more responsive than others, as their schedules, and personalities, vary.

You can manage your living situation and your diet with apps, so why not do the same with school? The average college student is often overwhelmed by the amount of work with which they’re tasked amid the other challenges of living on their own. Keeping track of everything using only your noggin is near impossible.

  • Springpad: This is an app that’s purposed to get things done. You can record your tasks and notes and access them at a later time. Take pictures, scan barcodes to get more information on an item, and collaborate with others. Few apps are as versatile.
  • iStudiez Pro: Every detail about your academic career can be stored in iStudiez Pro, including your class schedule and your updated GPA. Its Smart Summary function provides you with your events for the day, performing the function of an interactive planner. What’s more, you can manage all your assignments, from daily homework to major papers, using its Assignments Review function.
  • Evernote: Your life as a college student is consumed by note taking. Evernote consolidates all your notes between different devices, organizing them so you can easily access them from anywhere. You can snap a picture and record audio notes to save time. It’s one of those apps that you can’t imagine life without once you’ve started using it.
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The 7 Most Awesome Moments From Christopher Nolan Movies

 

Like a phoenix from the ashes, The Dark Knight Rises again. Ladies, strap on your cat suits. Gentlemen, don your rubber body armor with fake abs. Today’s your day. Let your fanboy superhero cosplay freak flag fly while you check out this badass preview:

And if that wasn’t enough to get you pumped about The Dark Knight Rises, we’ve rounded up the seven most awesome moments from Christopher Nolan movies. He’s a celebrated director that’s taken cinema and Batman to new heights. SPOILERS AHEAD. Here are some of his greatest hits:

  1. The Big Reveal in The Prestige

    It’s number one with a bullet, and it’s classic Christopher Nolan. The final scene in The Prestige: we learn, after an arduous few hours of guessing and being lead down false rabbit holes, that there are twins and drowning clones. Great dialogue, great reveal, and the most classic Nolan WTF Film Ending Moment. It leaves us speechless, every time.

  2. The Interrogation Scene, The Dark Knight

    Batman wears dark colors and looks foreboding. The Joker wears bright colors and features a perma-smile. But when it’s good versus bad, the bat is your best bet. This scene features little else but the acting chops of Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger under the direction of Nolan. Coupled with costumes, the right lighting, stellar makeup, and a keen understanding of the characters’ long saga — it doesn’t get much better than that.

  3. The End of Inception

    The final five minutes of a movie usually wrap things up in an easily digestible package, and everyone goes home feeling happy and great. Not so for director Christopher Nolan, who prefers to incept your moviegoing experience. Is this real life, or a dream world? What’s going on with that top? It looks rickety. That’ll blow your mind.

  4. “I’m Batman!” from Batman Begins

    Before The Dark Knight claimed his title, Batman had to Begin. True Batman believers cheered for a fleshed out antihero, and what they got was the first spooky and mysterious instance of Nolan’s Batman claiming his name. This is what a real Dark Knightlooks like.

  5. Almost Every Scene In Memento

    What do you do when you can’t feel time? Leonard doesn’t know, either. Memento was an early and serious critical hit for Nolan, and a film that begs to be watched several times. A deconstructed picture, there are always several messages to glean per scene. There are riddles, clues, and keys everywhere, but they’re in reverse chronological order — which makes the already compelling Mementoa thriller of the highest capacity. Here’s the infamous “bed scene” — containing more inside than you think:

  6. The Hospital Scene, The Dark Knight

    How do you top being The Joker? Creating Two Face. How do you top creating Two Face? By wearing a candy striper dress and blowing up an entire hospital. Phenomenally shot, paced, and acted, you won’t soon forget these five grisly minutes.

  7. The Joker Is Clearly A Psycho Terrorist, Hellbent on Gotham/Self Destruction The Dark Knight

    And because it’s all about Batman, we thought we’d give more love to The Joker. If you ever wanted to see what a truly destructive psycho terrorist looks like when he’s in the throes of wanton municipal destruction, look no further. These tiny moments of classic cinema are common in Nolan’s films, and truly pit the director at the top of his field. And, with his Dark Knight, Nolan’s star also rises.

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